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Two Cross-Cultural Historians and their Recent Work


Taylor, R and Ellinghouse, K, Two Cross-Cultural Historians and their Recent Work, Public Seminar by the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, pp. 1-4. (2017) [Conference Extract]

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In 1908 Ernest Westlake packed a tent, a bicycle and forty tins of food and sailed to Tasmania. On mountains, beaches and in sheep paddocks he collected over 13,000 Aboriginal stone tools. Into the Heart of Tasmania explores who Westlake was and why he went to Tasmania. It is a biographical account of a journey, framed within the broader histories of science and colonisation. And there is a parallel journey in this book. I follow Westlake from the archives to Tasmania, and I meet the descendants of the Aboriginal people he met. I try to see that which Westlake could not: an enduring Indigenous people, who are the living, beating ‘heart of Tasmania’ of the book’s title. So many historians’ journeys begin in an archive . The archive is, as Tom Griffiths puts it, the ‘launching pad’ into ‘time travel’. I remember that cold January morning in 2000 in the archives of the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford facing the boxes that contain Westlake’s Tasmanian papers for the first time, and which did launch into another place, time and life.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:Tasmania, history, Aboriginal archaeology, anthropology
Research Division:Indigenous Studies
Research Group:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, language and history
Research Field:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Understanding past societies
Objective Field:Understanding Australia's past
UTAS Author:Taylor, R (Dr Rebe Taylor)
ID Code:135971
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:College Office - CALE
Deposited On:2019-11-22
Last Modified:2019-11-22

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